||Issue No. 197||26 September 2003|
Coming to the Party
Interview: Crowded Lives
Activists: Life With Brian
Industrial: National Focus
Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Economics: Beating the Bastards
Media: Three Corners
History: The Brisbane Line
Trade: The Dumping Problem
Review: Frankie's Way
The Locker Room
A Sick War
Cobar Beats Off CBH Assault
A Consolidated Broken Hill move to rip millions of dollars out of rural Cobar has been thwarted by a landmark ruling that stops companies jumping jurisdictions to evade decisions they don't like.
The NSW IRC full bench decision has forced Consolidated Broken Hill to abandon plans to hire Endeavour Mine workers on AWAs, and back into negotiations with the AWU.
Its orders prevent CBH and its contractors by-passing the NSW Industrial Relations Commission by transferring future employees into the Federal industrial relations system.
AWU national secretary, Bill Shorten, hailed the decision as a "breakthrough" and called on CBH to sit down and negotiate a fair settlement.
The lead and zinc mine is the biggest single employer in outback Cobar. It's problems began when original owner, Pasminco, went into administration more than two years ago.
CBH subsequently bought the operation, changed its name from Elura to Endeavour, and planned to operate it through a series of sub-contractors who would pay wages averaging around $30,000 short of those provided for in the mine's consent award.
When the AWU objected it lost its original case in the IRC. But the full bench, last week, upheld its appeal, ruling the award still applied and instructing CBH, its contractors, and the AWU to negotiate a new industrial agreement.
It gave the AWA an injunction preventing mine employers from evading the agreement by hiring new employees under Federal AWAs.
The campaign to save jobs and condition in NSW's far west has been supported by mine workers and the Cobar community.
Shorten said Cobar miners could now hold out "greater hope" that their conditions would not be undermined by employers shopping between jurisdictions for the "worst deal".
Temporary Aides Seek Access to Home Loans
School support staff on temporary contracts who care for disabled children are seeking a change in their employment status so they can qualify for home loans and other financial services.
Under a groundbreaking proposal being pursued by the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union a number of Aides in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese could finally win permanent status.
The IEU says hundreds of the Integrative Aides Australia-wide have been robbed of the "basic dignity" of job security because their positions rely on government funding being maintained for the special needs children they care for from year to year.
One example of many is the plight of Debbie Micallef who is now struggling to get from work and back after her car blew up. After more than nine years on the job Micallef can't get a bank loan to buy a new one because she lacks security of employment.
"Living year by year has meant many are unable to qualify for home loans and other services from financial institutions that require proof of stable employment," IEU state secretary Dick Shearman says.
Shearman said this could all change if the Independent Education Union is successful in its bid to have the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese introduce a marginal percentage of permanency to the Aides' positions.
The Independent Education Union is requesting the Diocese make the Aides' positions 60% permanent in cases where the support staff work regular numbers of hours in long-term positions.
Shearman said the figure is enough to make a difference to the Aides' loan prospects but not so much that the Diocese will be left to foot the bill if the funding is reduced.
"Even if funding is reduced it would be unlikely to be cut by more than 60% over the course of any year," he says.
"There is no good reason why Integrative Aides that have been on temporary contracts for three years or more could not have their employment status changed to more accurately reflect the ongoing nature of their work."
"Some of these Aides have been on temporary contracts in excess of 10 years, yet they have no access to the basic dignity of job security that so many of us take for granted."
"These loyal workers should no longer be denied access to home loans, personal loans, and other vital financial services because of a technicality with their employment classification."
The IEU has previously been successful in a bid to have formally recognised the ongoing employment of a group of teachers of English as a Second Language, enabling many to access previously unavailable financial services.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|